Riding on the Wind
This is a companion story to "Scorpio Races: Happiness" but can be read alone. Takes place a couple years after.
The ground trembled below him as he and his stallion raced along the beach. He was riding bareback, as his father had taught him, becoming one with the water horse. His capall uisce was a luxurious chocolate brown with obsidian eyes and an ebony mane. His father had brought him down to the beach when he was ten years old, on the first day of November, like his grandfather had done for him. The official had looked at him dubiously, but did not protest. Nobody protested his decisions if they involved the capaill uisce.
Men surrounding us hang the bridles with colourful tassels and flowers to try to lessen the danger of the deadly magic of the Scorpio Sea, as they had done when his mother and father were young, as they had done from the beginning. People shouted out greetings to him, but he ignored them. His father lead him away from the horses, they were here to observe. His father showed him how to recognize signs of a horse's distress, if the horse favours one eye more than the other, or if he spooks in a certain direction. And he promises that when he's old enough, his father will teach him how to ride.
Now, at age seventeen, he was training for his first year in the Scorpio Races. Thundyr was pounding the ground with everything he had, manipulating his body into believing that they were flying across the surf. He had been working almost all afternoon, and he was tired. He brought Thundyr to a slow gallop. Both of them were breathing heavily, sweat gleaming. He brought them to the stables, wrapped up Thundyr's legs as his father had taught him, and walked inside.
His mother was lying on the couch, her back towards him. He slipped by her, not wanting to disturb. He loved his mother. In his opinion she was better than any other women on the island, especially Lina Maud. She was one of the girls in Skarmouth and a complete airhead. He was inclined to think her mother was one as well.
His mother was strong. She had won the Scorpio Races riding a normal horse. Said horse had passed away a few years before he was born, but he heard stories whispered by the townspeople about Dove. She had only raced twice. She had only raced the second time so that she could earn enough money to help her younger brother, his Uncle Finn. She had one that race as well, though people weren't so eager to bet against her that time. More women were racing now and people were more accepting after his mother had proved them all wrong. Some racers were now training normal horses instead of risking it with the water horses. He knew that the capaill uisce were faster and had more endurance, but the advantage that people were discovering, is that they weren't as receptive to the ocean's enchanting call.
Now, she never much liked watching people train and she still favoured normal horses instead of capaill uisce, he figured it was because of all the deaths. But she always went to watch the races. Every year without fail.
His father was another legend. He had won many races, and people were constantly whispering about how he could tame the capaill uisce. People were talking about how his own horse, a fiery red stallion named Corr, had fought against the ocean's pull. Corr had too moved on before himself, and he was determined to create a bond between him and Thundyr, like the one between his father and Corr.
Right now, his father was probably in the town helping others with their water stallions. Everyone wanted his help and normally he refused, but with the Races fast approaching and the sea's aura strengthening, he wanted to try and keep the casualties to a minimum.
His mother called him in for some supper. She laid the meal out as she told him that his father was going to be late as he was helping at the stables. He went in and sat down, eating quietly as his mind was reliving the moments when he and Thundyr were practically flying. He had never felt so alive as when his blood was pounding with the thrill of going so fast. His father said that nothing gives as much of a rush as riding breakneck speed by the surf.
After eating quickly, he excused himself and left towards his room, his mother smiling proudly at her son behind him. He lay down on the bed, so exhausted and yet at the same time so energized. The adrenaline from riding had not yet left his nerves. It was so addictive, the dangerous thrill of riding, and when the Scorpio races started the ocean's magic would just add to it.
He would keep training and when the Races arrived he would succeed his father as the King of the Races. Maybe one day, he and Thundyr would be able to have the same bond as his parents did with their mounts. He was Thomas Kendrick after all.